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Sowers Should Be OK

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Sowers Should Be OK

Unread postby ArtGold » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:09 pm

The question was in the Stanford thread, but I don't want to hijack it.

I think Sowers will be fine because I believe he has the makeup and stuff to be a competent major league pitcher. My favorite comp is a very old guy, Warren Spahn. He knew how to set up hitters and make them get themselves out, without super stuff. Sowers brings this same mindset, and has had sufficient minor league and some major league success for me to believe he will figure out how to get hitters to swing at pitches outside of the strike zone.
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Unread postby KFletch » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:12 pm

I think it would be beneficial for Sowers to go east to Buffalo and get some help on the mechanics. He is still young...
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Unread postby Steve Buffum » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:14 pm

Fair enough. (Hey, I asked.)

How long does it take a young guy to "get the calls" on close pitches? I think the thing that prevents Sowers from being Tom Glavine is that the umpires call(ed) more borderline pitches strikes for Glavine. This would result in a higher K rate (as the changeup away gets called for strike three and batters yell at the umpire), and also in more "bad swings."

But I'm of the opinion that Sowers can be the smartest guy in the universe and unless his pitches do something more, he's still Dave Fleming. He needs a changeup with more movement, or a cutter, or a splitter, or an eephus pitch, but I think his fundamental STUFF isn't enough, regardless of control and command and Sooper Pitchability. He's never going to hump it up there mid-nineties, and I'm not asking for that, but I think more movement is not only possible but desirable.
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Unread postby Prosecutor » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:26 pm

Sowers faced over 20 batters last night and didn't get a single strikeout. I know he's not a strikeout pitcher, but that fact that he couldn't make hitters swing and miss at all is very concerning. He probably doesn't have the stuff to be better than a 12-win, 4.40 guy.

Wedge says his pitches are finding too much of the plate. Sowers is like Byrd, he needs pinpoint control to be effective, and when he doesn't have it he gets killed. If he gets it back he's usually good for a Cliff Lee type quality start (6 ip, 3 runs, 2 K's).
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Unread postby Steve Buffum » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:32 pm

Prosecutor wrote:If he gets it back he's usually good for a Cliff Lee type quality start ...

Right now, he is getting Cliff Lee starts: it's just that Cliff Lee starts are really things to avoid.
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Unread postby ArtGold » Mon Jun 04, 2007 2:52 pm

I agree that he won't probably be a front of the rotation guy, but I think 12-15 wins and a 4.00-4.50 ERA sounds about right. I agree he needs more movement on his changeup, but this is a function of grip and snap at release, something I think he wouldn't have difficulty getting decent at fairly quickly. This is based on just using it 5-12 times per outing, just to add some deception.

But in the long run, I still think he can be pretty good. Just have to keep the expectations realistic.

Now Cliff Lee, on the other hand, is pitching way below his abilities.
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Unread postby Mcreek » Mon Jun 04, 2007 3:14 pm

When exactly is Carl willis going to be held accountable for the inabilty to develop young pitching?

Jeremy Guthrie is looking llike a stud FOR in Baltimore, Cliff Lee's K's have been dropping like a rock the last three years because he doesn't use his K pitch (Curve) anymore, Sowers and Cabrera have regressed under this man's tutelage. Only Carmona has prospered and that was only because of fate intervening with Westbrook/Lee's injury.

I'm not suggesting that we change pitching coaches every year like Hart did but if this trend continues Shapiro will have to step in and can this bozo Willis because Wedge won't recommend that his friend be replaced.
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Unread postby Prosecutor » Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:23 pm

Lee's strikeout per 9 innings the last four years is: 8.1, 6.4, 5.8, and 5.2 (so far this year). There's definitely something going on with him. If it's because he's not using his curve anymore, you have to wonder why. Arm problems?
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Unread postby Steve Buffum » Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:25 pm

Prosecutor wrote:Lee's strikeout per 9 innings the last four years is: 8.1, 6.4, 5.8, and 5.2 (so far this year). There's definitely something going on with him. If it's because he's not using his curve anymore, you have to wonder why. Arm problems?

Um ... he's using the curve, it just ends up in the vicinity of the wall (one side or t'other).
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Unread postby MadThinker88 » Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:35 pm

I am not suggesting that Mazzone and Willis are comparable, but I will rank Leo ahead of Carl on any scale rating pitching coaches.

Mazzone has long been considered one of the elite pitching coaches and I think the asistance he has given Jeremy has done a lot to help Guthrie take the next step that he so often struggled with in this organization.
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Approach to Pitching

Unread postby ArtGold » Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:48 pm

So why can't we figure out what Mazzone does? It can't be that deep a secret, can't we sign a former pitcher he taught and determine why we are not doing as good a job?
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Re: Approach to Pitching

Unread postby Steve Buffum » Mon Jun 04, 2007 5:01 pm

ArtGold wrote:So why can't we figure out what Mazzone does? It can't be that deep a secret, can't we sign a former pitcher he taught and determine why we are not doing as good a job?

Well, I guess there are a couple things here: you couldn't ask Thelonious Monk how to play along with him, and for every Jeremy Guthrie there's a bunch of Daniel Cabreras and such. I think Mazzone really has an effect, but it's more "feeling" than "rote." I mean, Paul Byrd was there, he ought to be able to tell us, right? But I doubt he could pass on anything more useful than, "And then Leo saw me rotate my hip and spat tobacco at me and I stopped doing it."

Willis could also rock more.
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Unread postby Babrook » Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:36 pm

KFletch wrote:I think it would be beneficial for Sowers to go east to Buffalo and get some help on the mechanics. He is still young...
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Unread postby ArtGold » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:43 pm

OK, so who was mediocre when promoted or acquired by the Indians and then had their performance significantly enhanced after working with Willis?
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Unread postby pup » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:45 pm

Scott Elarton
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Unread postby ArtGold » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:48 pm

I don't know...he was 17-7 in Houston before he was injured. Then he had the trauma of pitching in Colorado (pre-humidor). I'm not sure he goes on Willis's resume.

But it is a possibility, of course whatever he learned drained out on the plane ride to KC.
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Unread postby consigliere » Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 am

Sowers reminds me more of this guy right now:

X Player in 2004:
Before the All-Star Break: 9-1, 3.77 ERA, .244 BAA, 18 starts
After the All-Star Break: 5-7, 7.91 ERA, .300 BAA, 15 starts

As a point of reference, Sowers numbers:

2005: 7-4, 3.57 ERA, .252 BAA, 14 starts
2006: 1-6, 6.63 ERA, .305 BAA, 11 starts

That player in 2004 was Cliff Lee....a player who took the league by storm the first half of the season and in his first full exposure to the league (like Sowers last year)....but the league made adjustments in the second half that year and Lee hit tough times. If anyone remembers, it was bad just about every time out for Lee. Then, Lee bounces back the next year (2005) and wins 18 games.

Not saying Sowers will bounce back like that.....but I think Sowers is suffering through some growing pains. Just, he'll likely have to grow out of those pains in Buffalo.
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Unread postby ArtGold » Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:04 am

Agreed, I think he will probably need to go down and take the glare off of him while he works on his stuff. I think his problems are different than Lee's although their situation is similar.

In Sowers case I think two things need to happen, his change needs to improve and he needs to learn to throw quality pitches just outside of the strikezone (and sometimes at the start of the batting sequence).

I really think he needs to learn how to set up major league hitters, I think he did a fine job of setting up minor league hitters. There are some subtle differences, but I think he will quickly learn how to do this.
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Unread postby consigliere » Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:11 am

It always comes down to two things: confidence and command. Two things I think Sowers is lacking a lot of right now. He doesn't have the stuff to get by with a lack of command, so he needs to be on his A game most of the time.....so, I think he is best served going to Buffalo and finding his command and confidence. At some point in the season, we'll need that 6th starter again.
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Unread postby AdamMiller » Tue Jun 05, 2007 5:11 am

Sowers in the long run I'm not too worried about, its not like he has lost velocity or anything, you'd have to have it to lose it. His problem are mechanical as Wedge was detailing yesterday in the paper and ofcourse mental. The big leagues is a hard place for a kid to fix things, thats why the sooner Westbrook comes back the better. Sowers is too intelligent not to figure things out but it would help him greatly if he were in Buffalo right now instead of here
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Unread postby Steve Buffum » Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:41 am

Consigliere wrote:Sowers reminds me more of this guy right now:

X Player in 2004:
Before the All-Star Break: 9-1, 3.77 ERA, .244 BAA, 18 starts
After the All-Star Break: 5-7, 7.91 ERA, .300 BAA, 15 starts

As a point of reference, Sowers numbers:

2005: 7-4, 3.57 ERA, .252 BAA, 14 starts
2006: 1-6, 6.63 ERA, .305 BAA, 11 starts

That player in 2004 was Cliff Lee....a player who took the league by storm the first half of the season and in his first full exposure to the league (like Sowers last year)....but the league made adjustments in the second half that year and Lee hit tough times.

My interpretation was that he ran out of gas in his first season throwing that many innings.

I'm not sure I want to hold Cliff Lee up as an example of anything, though. I have exactly the same amount of confidence with Lee on the bump as with Sowers there.
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Unread postby zardoz » Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:39 pm

He's young and smart. He'll adjust.
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Unread postby gkamens » Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:36 pm

I think Sowers will be fine because I believe he has the makeup and stuff to be a competent major league pitcher. My favorite comp is a very old guy, Warren Spahn. He knew how to set up hitters and make them get themselves out, without super stuff. Sowers brings this same mindset, and has had sufficient minor league and some major league success for me to believe he will figure out how to get hitters to swing at pitches outside of the strike zone


Warren Spahn?
If Sowers becomes 1/4 of Warren Spahn I'm sure we all will be thrilled.

Just imagion getting 17 years of 250+ innings, 20 wins with an ERA right around 3 and a WHIP of about 1.23.

Somehow I don't think compairing Sowers to Spahn is fair. Also rather disrespectful to an all time great.

The most Favorable compairison I could come up with is Jamie Moyer fromt the age of 34-42. I find this compairison to be generous though givin the fact that Moyer was able to strike out about 5 batters per 9 innings. There is NOTHING in Sowers's backgound that could possibly lead anyone to believe he is capable of striking out 5 batter per 9 innings.

While the "K" isn't the most telling of stats, it's an extreamly important ability for an extream flyball pitcher.

I can assure you that NEVER in our lifetime we we hear anything along the lines of:
CC and Sowers and pry for showers.
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Unread postby furls » Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:20 pm

Sowers reminds me of Maddox (with no change). Maddox did not have impressive "stuff" he got guys out with smarts, location, and changing speeds. Sowers has 2/3, which unfortunately flies in the face of several decades of Meatloafian theory, is pretty bad.

His control has not been great, that coupled with his inability to effectively change speeds has rendered him useless until he can get his control back. He will not be a truly effective #2 (or even 3) until he gets a good change up.
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